Depending on the day and the dives you did, there is a big disparity about how you feel in the hours after you’ve finished. Being fairly new recreational divers, we aren’t the people to ask the in depth and technical physiology questions and we don’t play those people on TV. There are a few things we know from experience that DO make a difference and I thought we could share them here.
Drink plenty of water. If you can’t spit in your mask to help keep it from fogging up, you definitely need to drink water before you jump in. I like to carry a gallon with me to drink during set up and prep. I also drink water between dives and during the pack up at the end of the day. Having a gallon is more than enough, even if you need to share with your buddies.
Eat something before you go and bring some light snacks. Ben and I love Clif bars and mixed nuts (no peanuts, personal preference) It keeps our energy up especially doing multiple dives. Just add some to your bag. We also have a couple favorite meals we grab during longer breaks.
If you haven’t had regular exposure to the sun or if it’s early spring especially, pay attention to the amount of sun you’re getting. Combat this with water and sunscreen. I got sun poisoning in Acapulco from just a few hours of stubbornness. It wrecked my weekend.
Do your best to match your wetsuit to the environment your diving. I have a two-piece wetsuit. During the summer, I’ll wear one or the other as it can get mighty stuffy under the surface if I wore everything. Ben has a wetsuit and a drysuit to pick from. Make sure your logging the weight you use during your dives with different wetsuits. This makes future dives much easier. Dressing for the weather is critical for an enjoyable dive, no matter if its warm water or cold water diving.
Take it easy. If you experience discomfort during the dive, shorten the first dive and take time to get things right. That discomfort affects the length of dive, air consumption, stress levels, and plenty of other variables that you don’t want to be juggling while you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
Breathe and relax. Pay attention to your breathing. Always be breathing and avoid a post dive headache.
By the way, yes, these are simple. The simple things are easy to do but(!) they are also easy NOT to do. Log how you felt in the hours after the dive and look back at the day to see what could have gone better. If you make it through a day or multiple days diving and you just feel a little wore out, you win. Plan ahead to make it a natural part of your diving and feel good all day!